[FILE] Athletes at the Children’s edition of Cycling Lagos event held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere….

About 180 students, drawn from three education districts in Lagos state are set to participate in this year’s school cycling competition, organised by the African Cycling Foundation (ACF), in collaboration with Simba Group, Sterling Bank and Cycology Riding Club, as part of efforts to enhance the overral development of the child.

The competition, which holds tomorrow and Saturday at the Teslim Balogun, Stadium, Surulere, will feature public school students in junior secondary one to three.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, the President of the foundation, Mr. Yemi Osilaja advocated the introduction of a cycling culture in our children to enable them benefit at a very young age.

He added that cycling and sports in general would help to keep the children alert both physically and mentally.“Most of the children are the ones always left behind. We want to ensure that schools are involved in the culture of cycling, not just for adults alone, as this helps their education. We need to catch them young and we are going to be identifying their talents and nurture them.”

To promote learning, the foundation had given out bicycles to some schools in Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos. Osilaja said they found out that the students had to trek long distances to school from their homes, and in the process the girls ended up getting raped by hoodlums, and dropping out of school.

The Lagos State government is trying to put a policy together that would ensure that not only car owners are on the road, but also those who can cycle. We need to teach our children the rudiments of cycling and become more responsible to their future,” he stressed.

The Captain, Cycology Riding Club, Mrs. Bimpe Olufemi said the group is partnering with ACF to promote the cycling culture among the young ones.We are working together to ensure that we have potential cyclists who can go on to the international level and become professional cyclist.”

Speaking on safety on our roads, Olufemi said, “We have several precautions that we have put in place when we are doing cycling. In the same vein, we noticed that a lot of motorists on the road, do not have time for cyclists, so we decided to initiate a  ‘Share the Road’ campaign which is a global initiative that we are bringing to Nigeria because we think it is important for everybody to be aware that the road is for everyone.”

“That is a key initiative that we are doing and we are going to be working with private, public partners including government.  We are trying to look at a healthy lifestyle, there is a need for us to develop a nation of healthy people because if people are healthier, they are happier and government will spend less on health care services.In his remarks, Assistant Director, Lagos State Sports Commission, Mr. Rahmon Murtala said the agency is committed to promoting sports in the school system.

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